CO DOWN COMPANY PLEDGES £25K TO LIFT LOCAL KIDS OUT OF HOLIDAY HUNGER
A Downpatrick man hopes to combat the issue of hunger in local children from socially deprived backgrounds
One in four children in Northern Ireland will go hungry every day over mid-term, a report revealed today.
The study commissioned by Detail Data highlighted that thousands of children in Northern Ireland suffer a lack of nutritious or consistent meals during the school holidays, with 100,000 students relying on free school meals.
In the absence of this nutrition, Co Down food manufacturer, Finnebrogue Artisan has announced today that it will be donating £25,000 to provide lunches to children from socially deprived backgrounds.
The holiday hunger scheme, which is run by the Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) charity, hopes to combat the issue of hunger in children and pledges to ensure that 250 kids from deprived families will be given lunches when they are not in school over the next twelve months.
CiNI kickstarted their Get Active NI project in 2017 with an aim to support parents by providing educational and practical activities for children during term time and ensuring those children still benefit from a substantial breakfast and lunch.
The most recent project to open its doors to local children is in Downpatrick, where over 100 4-17 year olds benefited from the initiative this summer and approximately 100 will attend this October half term.
Finnebrogue Chairman Denis Lynn vowed to support the cause having heard about its work in the local community and has also donated nutritional meat packages to families in Portadown and Carrickfergus.
Lynn told Belfast Live that they hope to educate children on the importance of good food.
He said: “The next generation will play an instrumental role in maintaining the steps we have taken for a sustainable planet.
“At Finnebrogue, we value the importance of nurturing young minds to enhance the local economy.
“With education and nutrition being the core ingredients for this, it is our privilege to contribute to the wellbeing of children across Northern Ireland.
“We’ll also contribute to the Get Active NI food education programme and have plans to be involved in teaching children about the importance of good food.”
Children in Northern Ireland Policy Officer, Ellen Finlay, said they are delighted to have the support from the Downpatrick company.
“Denis Lynn heads up an incredibly commendable and innovative business, one that will be truly inspiring to the children involved in our projects,” she added.
“To have full funding for a new project is a fantastic start – we foresee our Downpatrick scheme being very successful.”
As part of Finnebrogue’s dedication to educating the importance of good quality food, the team is also “on a mission to remove nitrites from all processed meats in the UK.”
Colin McGrath, SDLP Education Spokesperson and South Down representative told Belfast Live that children from underprivileged backgrounds suffer over the school holidays.
He said: “Hailing from Downpatrick myself, it’s brilliant to see a local cause supported by a local success.
“My invested interest in the education sector means I’m fully aware of the issues that arise in school holidays for children from underprivileged backgrounds.
“The Children in NI Get Active project benefits hundreds of pupils across the region and Finnebrogue’s involvement will add significant health and financial value.
“Children will receive nitrite-free ham – a major safer food breakthrough developed right here on our doorstep – meaning they’ll not only have regular, substantial meals but better-quality, healthier food too.”